Tiling Over Wall or Floor Tiles

Removing existing tiles from bathrooms or kitchens before installing new designs can take a lot of time and effort. So, is there a quicker way to add new tiles to your home? The short answer is yes – it is possible to tile over wall or floor tiles, as long as you know how to do this effectively. It is important to follow specific steps to ensure that your new tiles are fitted correctly and will stand the test of time. Sunrise Tools can provide both tradesmen and DIY enthusiasts with the equipment they need to complete a task like this; however, we have also compiled a ‘how toguide to help you get started.

Preparing the Tiles

Before undertaking any actual tiling, the first step is to ensure that your existing tiles are securely fixed to the wall. If you are tiling over wall tiles, this is extremely important as if they are loose, your new tiling may fall off with your old ones leading to further cost in the long run. To ensure they are in place, use a sharp scraper to try and lever them off around the grouting. If there is movement or the tiles come off the wall, you will have to remove the tiles entirely and start with a blank canvas. If there are only one or two tiles that are loose, you can perhaps replace these and then put your new tiles on top as this will be a quicker and easier process than stripping the whole room.

The grouting around your existing tiles should also be worn down or removed as much as possible. This is to reduce the likelihood of damp or mould spores that can collect between the tiles, leading to an awful smell that you will struggle to get rid of. Use a grout rake to do this, as it means that you can complete the process faster. Once you have removed the grout, there is no need to add more as you will be added more tiles on top and grouting them.

Additionally, ensuring that the surface of the tile is clean and free of dirt and grime will help the new tiles stick on top of them. Use an old cloth and some white spirit to do this as it will help remove buildup such as soap suds, shampoo and shower gel residue or water marks but make sure that you wear gloves to protect your skin. White spirit can also get rid of tougher stains such as paint splashes, but you may need to use some steel wool and elbow grease alongside it.

If the tiles are securely glued to the wall and the grouting is secure, then you are ready to tile directly over them.

Selecting Your New Tiles

When choosing what type of tiles to replace your old ones with, there are a few factors to consider. If the walls that you are intending to re-tile are flat, you can use any tile. However, if your home is an older property with walls that are not perfectly straight, you may want to consider smaller tiles as these are more likely to follow the contours of the wall. This will mean that they are more likely to last longer. This also applies if you are tiling on top of floor tiles, are larger tiles may be challenging to use on an uneven surface.

Applying Your Tiles

Now that you have chosen your tiles and prepared the existing wall, it is time to start tiling. You will need tile adhesive to apply the tiles, which comes in two main varieties – premixed or powdered. We recommend premixed adhesive for tiling over existing tiles, especially brands that are instant grab or non-slip, as these help the new tiles attach to the old ones.

Use a trowel to apply the adhesive to the back of the tile, and then push it gently onto the wall. When you are tiling over existing tiles, it is recommended that you stagger the joints rather than putting them directly on top. Any excess adhesive can be wiped off with a damp sponge. To ensure that your tiles are both level and evenly separated, use plastic tile spacers and levelling tools, which can be purchased through Sunrise Tools.

Grouting Your Tiles

If the tiles are now in the correct place, it is vital to grout them to ensure that they are leak-proof so that your whole wall is watertight. Grout can come in a variety of colours to suit your personal style and types suitable for different tiling projects. Wall tile grout is generally un-sanded grout, while floor tiles tend to sure sanded grout. Use a grouting trowel to spread the grout over the tile joints, and then use a sponge to wipe away the excess grout for a clean finish.

Attaching your Bathroom Fittings

Once you have grouted your tiles and waiting for them to dry, you may need to reinstall any bathroom fittings such as towel rails or toilet roll holders. To do this, you will need to drill into the tiles carefully. We recommend drilling a 7mm hole and inserting a red wall plug with a number 8 screw, and this will securely attach your fittings. The best drill to use is one with a diamond drill bit, as this will cut through the tiles with ease.


Tiling over some existing wall or floor tiles is a great way to reduce the amount of time you spend on DIY as there is no need to remove the tiles that you want to get rid of. Sunrise Tools are on hand to supply you with all the tools that you will need to complete this task in your home, turning your DIY dreams into a reality.

Posted in: Sunrise DIY Guides